Friday, June 30, 2006

$9.4 million

The 3-mill tax increase trend continues. Wednesday evening, the Avella Area School District Board of Education became the latest in the 46th District to raise taxes by three mills. Caroline Shannon reports in today's O-R:

The millage increase means the tax rate will be 107 mills for residents of Independence, Cross Creek and Hopewell townships and West Middletown Borough. At that rate, the owner of a $100,000 home with an assessed value of $25,000 would pay $2,675 in taxes next year, an increase of $75.

Superintendent Wayde Killmeyer said the tax increase is the result of an increase in the basic costs of operating the school, in addition to the fact that about three years ago the district borrowed $2 million for a building project. "That money has to be paid back rather soon," Killmeyer said Thursday.

The board passed the budget 6-1 with board member Michael Muhr voting against it.

I attended the meeting on Wednesday evening, which had a sizable group of local residents in the audience. Many were school bus drivers there to find out more information about the new company, G.G. & Bus Co., that the school district will now use to provide student transportation. G.G. & C. is also located in the 46th -- on Jefferson Avenue in Canton Township.

Joining me at the board meeting was Andy Walz, who recently began working with our campaign. Andy graduated last month from St. Vincent College with a degree in political science. He's a 2002 graduate of Trinity High School and lived for many of his formative years in the Ellwood Park neighborhood of Canton Township. During his high school years, Andy was active in the youth group at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Meadowlands. Last summer, Andy interned with the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington, D.C. Welcome to the campaign, Andy! Thank you for your work!

Prior to the school board meeting, Andy and I also sat in on a fiery meeting of the Independence Township supervisors in the village of Avella. Look for a post soon by Andy on that meeting.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

At the old ballgame

Just received this photo yesterday. It's some of our gang at Snatchko Night at the Wild Things on June 16:

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

McDonald Parade this Saturday!

We would love to see lots of Snatchko supporters out this Saturday (July 1) to take part in the McDonald Parade. Please come support McDonald Borough Councilman Paul Snatchko by volunteering on Saturday. The parade will start at 5 p.m. but we can use your assistance starting around 3 p.m. We will work out of our campaign headquarters on West Lincoln Avenue. Hope to see you there!

Tom Baker

Campaign Manager, Snatchko 2006

$14.76 million

When I began this series of posts on the 2006-07 budgets in some of the school districts located in the 46th District, I wasn't expecting to see a trend. However, one trend has surfaced -- an increase in taxes by approximately three mills.

Caroline Shannon reports in today's O-R that the Fort Cherry School Board voted Monday to raise taxes by 2.75 mills, bringing total millage to 118.5 mills. From her article:

The tentative plan sets total spending at $14.763 million for the coming school year...

At that rate, the owner of a $100,000 home with an assessed value of $25,000 would pay $2,962 in taxes next year, an increase of almost $69.

Business manager Paul Sroka said the tax increase is the result of the "standard cost of operating." The extra funds, Sroka said, are needed for basic district expenditures, including employees' salaries.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Planning for the Future in Cecil Township

Yesterday evening, I attended the inaugural meeting of the newly-formed Cecil Township Advisory Planning Council, which has been charged with evaluating the township's comprehensive plan (adopted in 1997). I was impressed by how thoroughly and professionally the group, led by Elizabeth Cowden and Anne McFeatters, approached the task.

In the coming months, the APC will be taking an in-depth look at how the township's zoning will impact future development. The group's next meeting is at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 19. Cecil Township residents interested in the pace and nature of growth in their community should attend!

Before stopping at the township building, I had the opportunity to speak to the members of the Cecil Township Volunteer Fire Company #3. They are now planning for their upcoming summing carnival to be held July 17 to July 22 on the grounds of the fire department in the village of Cecil on Route 50. Look for yours truly to be walking in their annual parade on Saturday, July 22.

The Four Townsmen

Two of the fixtures from my time in local politics have been Lou and Sheryl Gadani of Canonsburg, local representatives for the Vernon Co., who supply me with promotional items such as balloons and bumper stickers. On Sunday, while campaigning at Chartiers Township Community Day, I had the opportunity to see Lou in action at his other job -- singing with The Four Townsmen, one of our area's great oldies bands. Lou is the band's orignal bass.

WJPA Morning Personality and Program Director Pete Povich is another member of The Four Townsmen. You can see the band's schedule of upcoming gigs at his section of the WJPA Website. The Four Townsmen will next appear at 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 2, on the main stage of Canonsburg's Doo-Wop-A-Looza.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Our New Neighbor: Lincoln Avenue Arts

Those travelling through McDonald may have noticed the large "Vote Snatchko" banner is no longer hanging in the large front windows of the former G.C. Murphy's store on West Lincoln Avenue. No worries -- we're still leasing part of the old "5 & 10" for our campaign headquarters. We're still in section of the first floor nearest Skybank. The middle section of the first floor just got some new tenants and they're now utilizing the large windows.

The name of our new neighbor is "Lincoln Avenue Arts." It's an artists' co-op led by Mary Lou Karas, Peggy Hughey, Alice Thomassy, Blanche Slates and several others. Mary Lou told me in an e-mail that, "Our mission is to showcase local talent, promote business in the community of McDonald and help stimulate the business district ...We welcome interested persons who would like to display their products. Work will be juried by a committee for potential display and all artists will be expected to 'volunteer' time."

Lincoln Avenue Arts is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. If you're from out-of-town and doing an on-line map, the address is 106 West Lincoln Ave., 15057. I stopped in on Friday to check out their wares, which included oil paintings, framed-and-matted photographs, hand-made cards and many other items (including the three volumes of "McDonald Memories" books edited by Alice Thomassy).

This is exactly the kind of private initiative that brings small towns to life. Cheers to the organizers of Lincoln Avenue Arts for their efforts! Thanks also to Dale & Rita Csonka, the owners of the old 5 & 10, who have invested considerable time, efforts and funds into improving McDonald's business district.

This reminds me of what Sandee Umbach and her dedicated crew have done to bring WashArts to life in the space above Brothers Pizza on North Main Street in WashPA.

Washington has had an Artists' Co-Op of its own since 1994. After a time at the Washington Mall, it's now back in Downtown Washington in the first floor of the Washington Trust Building Annex at 30 Beau Street.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"Go ahead and ask for an olive"

John Richards has a nicely done profile in today's O-R of Sharon Martini, the commander of Cecil American Legion Post 793.

I had the opportunity to meet Commander Martini on Sunday, May 28, at the Memorial Day service at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies and at the social afterwards at the Legion. She's an Air Force veteran and a member of the Fort Cherry Class of '63. She struck me as having the right combination of wit and tenacity to be a very good commander.

Sunset on Bronze

I've been told that, later this morning, more of the troops from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard unit based near the Washington County Airport in South Franklin Township will return home following their 18-month tour of duty -- most of which was spent in Iraq. Among the men and women returning home to their families will be Captain Steven Fischer. Steve's a friend from the 2004 GOP campaigns in Washington County. The photo above is one of the many that he sent home in his updates from Iraq. He called it "Sunset on Bronze." Welcome home to Steve and all those men and women in his unit! Thank you for your service.

Update (June 25): Heidi Price has an article on the Welcome Home gathering at the Armory in today's Observer-Reporter.

$25.99 million

Latest in our series on 2006-2007 school budgets in the 46th:

Karen Mansfield reports in today's O-R that the McGuffey School Board on Thursday adopted a $25.99 million general fund budget that requires a 3-mill tax increase. From Karen's article:

Directors voted 5-1 to adopt the spending plan. The district's real estate tax will be 111 mills. At that rate, the owner of an $80,000 home with an assessed value of $20,000 would pay $2,220 in taxes, an increase of $60, or roughly two percent more than last year...

Superintendent Joseph Stefka said the county's present assessment system has contributed to the school district's financial woes. Specifically, he cited the underassessment of mineral rights and a shrinking enrollment as concerns...Over the past 10 years, McGuffey's enrollment has shrunk by about 600 students, Stefka said, and the district projects it could lose about 200 students over the next four years.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Losing Sleep

It's Tip O'Neill, the late Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who is credited with coining the phrase "All politics is local." In the 2006 race for the PA House from the 46th District, no issue better fits with this mantra than the debate over the power plant that Robinson Power Co. (owned by the Balogna Family) wants to build at the site of the massive gob pile off Beach Hollow Road (near the McDonald/Midway exit of Route 22-30).

In today's O-R, Caroline Shannon describes the discourse Tuesday evening at the latest of many meetings the Robinson Township Planning Commission has devoted to the plant. She reports that Commission members Judy Kramer and Luke Darragh are losing sleep over the recommendation the commission has to give by July 18 to the township supervisors (who have already begun hearings of their own on the plant). From the article:

"If this is not done correctly, it could be the biggest environmental
nightmare," Darragh said.

Post-Gazette freelancer Andrea Iglar also had a report last week on the planning commission's deliberations.

The proposed plant would burn the refuse coal at the site ("the gob") to make energy. Doing this would stop the drainage of acid from the gob pile into the Raccoon Creek watershed. However, the process would release new emissions into the air, including 40 ounces of mercury a year (which the state maintains is acceptable). And, the burning of the gob produces its own remnant -- fly ash. (There is a significant debate over the fly ash. Scientists hired by Robinson Power Co. say it will be "cementitious" -- but there is a skepticism about this claim. When Robinson Planning Commission members visited a similar plant, they said they saw the fly ash in the air.)

Job creation is also at issue. The building of the plant likely would create hundreds of jobs for local tradesmen such as steamfitters/pipefitters, electrical workers, carpenters, laborers and others. And, perhaps about 50 permanent jobs would be created at the plant for the 30 years it is expected to be operational. (Jack Shea himself, head of the Allegheny County Labor Council, appeared at one of the Robinson Planning Commission meetings to speak in favor of the project.)

Also in the mix: a West Allegheny School District elementary school is only a few miles downwind of the site. To my mind, this is the greatest cause for us to question the safety of the mercury emissions. (The area around the site already has unacceptable air quality levels. The plant is only being proposed because it's expected that this rating will be lifted by the time the plant would come on-line around 2010.)

Long story short -- do the positives (removing the gob pile, reducing acid runoff into the watershed and the creation of new jobs) outweigh the potential public health risk?

You can see why Judy and Luke are losing sleep.

McSummerfest 2006

Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity to speak with the members of the McDonald Volunteer Fire Department at their June business meeting. For 114 years, McDonald firefighters have been protecting lives and properties in the borough and surrounds. In addition to the essential role they play in providing emergency services, the members of the McDonald VFD also bring the community together through their annual summer carnival and concert series -- McSummerfest, held annually at Heritage Park.

This year, the Fire Department is bringing in the Poverty Neck Hillbillies to perform on Friday, July 7. Probably the most popular county music band originating from Southwestern Pennsylvania, the concert is one of several stops for the Hillbillies this summer as the band promotes its new self-titled album (released on June 6). Often billed as a combination of “hillbilly twang and rock ‘n roll gravel,” the seven-man band has its roots in the Fayette County village of “Poverty Neck.” The band’s hit songs include “The Hillbilly Way” and “Mr. Right Now.”

Other performers at McSummerfest 2006 will include William Dell and the Wee Jams (Monday, July 3), The Mansfield 5 (Wednesday, July 5), Chuck Blasko and The Vogues (Thursday, July 6) and Johnny Angel & The Halos (Saturday, July 8). All entertainment begins at 7:30 p.m.

McSummerfest also includes the annual parade on East and West Lincoln Avenues and classic car show beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 1. On Wednesday, July 4, McSummerfest will include the 11th Annual concert of the McDonald Area Community Chorus at 8 p.m. followed by one of the region’s best fireworks displays.

New Flows for Buffalo & Canton

Public water is coming for 165 homes in parts of Buffalo and Canton townships, according to Karen Mansfield in today's O-R. Karen quotes a Pennsylvania-American Water Co. supervisor who indicated, "the Canton portion of the project includes Gorby Road and homes along a portion of Route 40, and the stretch of McKee Road between Route 40 and Hewitt Avenue."

Naked Science

One of the greatest treasures of the 46th District is the Meadowcroft Rockshelter & Museum of Rural Life. It's located in Jefferson Township but you have to drive through the village of Avella in Independence Township to reach it. Two generations of local children have visited the Museum of Rural Life on elementary school field trips. But, in recent years, it's the Rockshelter that has garnered national and international attention.

Artifacts found at the Rockshelter point to human existence at the site some 20,000 years ago -- which some scientists believe is the oldest such evidence in North America. In today's Observer-Reporter, Caroline Shannon tells us that National Geographic will spotlight the Meadowcroft Rockshelter on an upcoming episode of its "Naked Science" television program that will seek to answer questions about the origin of prehistoric humans in North America.

If I am elected on November 7, I will seek new ways to make Meadowcroft a bigger part of revitalization initiatives that improve Avella's image and economy. For instance, I believe we could create fun "Weekends in the Country" for tourists that include visits to Meadowcroft and a stay at the nearby Weatherbury Farm Bed-and-Breakfast. Such tourists may also want to catch a Wild Things game, attend a play by the Old Schoolhouse Players in Hickory or a show at Post-Gazette Pavilion (all in or very near the 46th).

Update (June 25): Janice Crompton has an article about the National Geographic shoot in the Washington Section of today's Post-Gazette.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mr. Matthews goes to McDonald

Yesterday (Tuesday, June 20) from 10 to 11 a.m., McDonald Borough was visited by Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews, candidate for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor.

Jim enjoyed coffee and pastries at Schmidt's Family Restaurant with some local government officials including McDonald Mayor Jim Frazier, Oakdale Mayor Ross Rohbeck, Oakdale Council President Ronald "Huck" Gamble, McDonald Councilman Larry Hawk and yours truly.

Other locals around the table included Barbara Brockman of McDonald, Dave Nicksic of McDonald, Vicki Bozic of Midway, Meryl Hatton of Burgettstown, Debbie Guiddy of Burgettstown, Jack Rosati of Mt. Pleasant Township, Charlotte McCreanor of Cross Creek Township, Betty Brodmerkel of Frankfort Springs, Andy Walz of Washington and Snatchko Campaign Manager Tom Baker.

Jim shared some of his experiences on the campaign trail and said he was pleased to have the opportunity to learn more about Western PA -- especially more about the challenges facing the small boroughs of Washington County. After coffee, Jim and his aide, Trip Oliver, got a brief tour of McDonald's business district and even stopped in to say hello to Sandy at the Pittsburgh Cookie Co. (located in the historic Gladden Building in the center of town).

Later in the day, Jim visited Washington, PA, where he spoke to the Washington Rotary during their meeting at W&J and then toured the Washington City Mission. Seems like the quote of the day, captured by the always astute Barbara Miller of the O-R, was Jim's quip that incumbent Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll is "just one cheesesteak away" from being governor.

(CBK also has McDonald connections. Her late brother, John Baker, was a longtime resident of Mt. Pleasant Township and her nephews and their families still live off Fort Cherry Road.)

$13.93 million

Today, O-R freelancer Laurie Carson has a report about the 2006-2007 budget approved Monday by the Chartiers-Houston School District Board of Education. According to Laurie, the budget includes "a 2.5-mill tax increase to pay off money borrowed for renovations at Allison Park Elementary and the junior/senior high school." More from the article:

As of July 1, the millage rate will be 95 mills. At that rate, the owner of a $100,000 home, with an assessed value of $25,000, will pay $2,375 in taxes, an increase of $63. A preliminary budget passed earlier this month set total spending at $14.069 million. On Monday, the board approved a scaled-down, final version that sets spending at $13.93 million and eliminates a teaching position.

Monday, the O-R's Heidi Price reports, the C-H school board also awarded a contact to install astro turf on the high school football field.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

$49.96 million

To follow up on that previous post about the Canon-McMillan School District budget:

The C-M board approved their upcoming spending plan on Monday evening. From Karen Mansfield of the O-R:

Canon-McMillan School Board on Monday adopted a $49.96 million general fund budget for the 2006-07 school year that requires a 3-mill tax increase.

Directors voted unanimously to adopt the spending plan. The district's real estate tax will be 92 mills and will cost residents on average an additional $52.39 in property taxes next year.

Revenue from the tax increase will be used to offset increased utilities and operational costs, handle rapid growth in the district and fund an extensive technology program that includes the purchase of new computers in the district's seven elementary schools and the addition of a computer lab at the high school.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Dedication in Eldersville

The small village of Eldersville, located at the West Virginia line in Jefferson Township, has a lot of which to be proud. Perhaps 100 or more were present Saturday afternoon at the dedication of a large, new veterans monument on a plot of ground in the center of the village. The Jefferson Township Historical Society was behind the creation of the new stone monument, which lists 1,110 names of township residents in military service from colonial times to the current day. Washington County Judge John DiSalle, retired U.S. Army Col. Emile Adrian Robert, Jr., and historical society VP John Ratkovich were among the speakers.

I had the opportunity to speak with some of the veterans and their families at the social after the dedication. There were only a few WWII veterans present. (The "Greatest Generation" is quickly leaving the scene -- the youngest WWII veterans alive today are at least 80 years old.)

Among the WWII veterans present was my great-great uncle, Ray Vincenti, age 90, who lived the longest part of his life in Jefferson Township. He took part in the raising of the U.S. flag at the memorial. ("Uncle Remo" was the brother of my great-grandfather, Joe Vincenti. The sons of immigrants from Northern Italy, they grew up in the village of Primrose west of McDonald.)

Gaydos Monument created the monument.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Larger Than Four Football Fields

It's a few townships and a state line away from the 46th, but this Cabella's does bring a great deal of traffic into western Washington County. About two week ago, while staffing the Washington County GOP table during Community Days at Washington Crown Center, I spoke with some Westmoreland County folks who had stopped at the mall on their way back from Cabella's. As they are both on I-70, it's a convenient stop to compare prices at Gander Mountain (where there is no sales tax on clothes) or maybe grab a bite or take in a movie. (Photo by Robert J. Pavuchak of the Post-Gazette.)

The Cool Aunt

Nicely done feature obit in today's P-G for Cheryl Ann Ralston, a Burgettstown-area native.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Thanks for making Snatchko Night with the Wild Things a great success!

Wow, what a great night! We had 65+ Snatchko supporters in our party suite at the Wild Things game last night. Paul got to throw out the first pitch and also sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch. Thank you to all of the elected officials and friends of the campaign who spent Friday evening with us. Let's keep the positive momentum going!

Tom Baker

Campaign Manager, Snatchko 2006

"Neo-Urban and Neo-Traditional"

The O-R reports that the Cecil Township Supervisors are considering an ordinance change that could bring a neo-traditional neighborhood to Southpointe II, the expansion of Southpointe onto the former Western Center property. A 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment project may also be in the works.

A Bold Request

My former O-R colleague Barbara Miller reports in Friday's paper that Dr. Joyce Knestrick, president of the McGuffey Area School District Board of Education, attended the Washington County Commissioners meeting on Thursday and called upon the commissioners to conduct a countywide property reassessment. Dr. Knestrick lives in South Franklin Township, part of the 46th District. (The other municipalities of the 46th in the McGuffey Area School District are Buffalo Township and Green Hills Borough.)

It's a bold request that would have ramifications on property tax revenues for each and every municipality and school district in Washington County -- likely some positive and some negative. From the article:

"Property development, deterioration, changed uses and changed market conditions over the last 25 years should now be acknowledged so that Washington County's assessment system can be brought up to date," Dr. Joyce Knestrick told the commissioners in a prepared statement."

"Inequities will be corrected where groups of taxpayers will no longer be subsidizing the taxes of other property owners."

I haven't had time to develop an informed, well-rounded opinion on this yet. But, kudos to Dr. Knestrick and the McGuffey board for out-of-the-box thinking and the initiative to bring it before the county commissioners.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Beltway Blues

Funding problems for the completion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway and the proposed Southern Beltway seem to be giving State Senator Barry Stout a headache. In today's O-R article, he laments (in colorful fashion) the lack of interest right now on the part of his fellow legislators in the highway projects:

"If there was a ribbon-cutting, they'd all be here," said Stout of the Turnpike Commission executive committee meeting in Meadowlands. He was the only legislator out of 35 on the committee to attend.

The Post-Gazette had a much more upbeat take on the meeting.

The Southern Beltway has been proposed as a toll road to connect Interstate 79 (at a point near the new national cemetery in Cecil Township) with Route 22-30 (in the Bavington section of Robinson Township, northwest of McDonald and Midway boroughs). As the Findlay Connector between Route 60 and Route 22-30 likely will be completed in the next year, the Southern Beltway would be more efficient way to get from Interstate 79 in Washington County to the Pittsburgh Airport.

Assuming the funding gets back on track, the Southern Beltway would be a major focus for the next state representative from the 46th District -- it would cut through parts of Cecil, Robinson and South Fayette Townships and be visible on the ridge south of McDonald. (In fact, I would be able to see the Beltway from my apartment windows on West Lincoln Avenue.) If elected, I would work to ensure that homeowners and property owners in the path of the Beltway were appropriately compensated and dealt with fairly. I also would work to ensure that the Beltway's exits were placed to maximize the economic benefit for our existing small towns and villages. And, I would be an advocate for earthen barriers and other construction techniques that limit the sound and visual impacts of the Beltway for homeowners and others in close proximity.

On Wednesday evening, I got my first glimpse of a completed portion of the Findlay Connector. En route to the Strawberry Festival at Robinson Presbyterian Church, I decided to see how far out I could drive on Old Steubenville Pike. (Mapquest sent me that way but I knew the construction would prevent cars from getting to Robinson Church Road.) At the spot where Old Steubenville was closed, I was able to turn right and follow another country road to a place where you could see the completed portion of highway and overpasses. I have to say it was an impressive sight -- the sun literally glistening off the untouched highway.

What makes June 17 so special?

Something interesting in today's "Harrisburg Online," the daily Greenlee Partners bulletin: Saturday, June 17, is the shared birthday of PA Attorney General Tom Corbett, Congressman Jack Murtha and our friend Tom Meinert at William J. Green & Associates. Greenlee Partners didn't mention this but, according to Wikipedia, Saturday is also the birthday of Newt Gingrich and Venus Williams.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thank You, Team Snatchko!

One of the most rewarding parts of the 2006 campaign thus far was our participation in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, held Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, at Chartiers-Houston High School Stadium. I've sent this out before in e-mails but, before this blog gets a day older, I wanted to say THANK YOU again to all of those who supported TEAM SNATCHKO's participation.

Thank You to our 41 walkers -- those who walked in the morning, those who walked in the afternoon and those who walked in the middle of the night. (The Relay for Life is a 24-hour event and each team has to have someone on the track at all times.) I'm proud to say we really did have someone on the track all of the 24 hours (except for when yours truly took a few minutes off during the 3 a.m. shift.)

Thank You to our Team Captain John Welch and Snatchko Campaign Manager Tom Baker for their work in recruiting walkers, developing our schedule and the myriad of other organizational tasks!

And, an Extra Special Thank You to all of those who donated in support of our team. We raised $1,530, nearly all of which came in the form of on-line donations through the ACS Website. In fact, we were one of the best teams when it came to getting on-line donations. But, the #1 team was "The Buccaneers," who raised some $17,000. Congrats to the Bucs and their team captain, Betsy Heinz! (Betsy was the person who recruited our team to participate.) In total, the Chartiers-Houston Relay earned more than $207,000 for cancer research. It was a great event. Win or lose for State House in 2006, I plan on participating again next year.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Holes in the Hills

Recently, while on the campaign trail, I attended a meeting of the Fort Vance Historical Society at the Burgettstown Library. Their speaker was Joseph Bogo, who has written a historical novel entitled "Holes in the Hills" based on an actual coal miners riot that took place not far from Avella in Cliftonville, West Virginia, in July, 1922.

This was new history to me: When men from the mining camps near Avella heard the that replacement workers had been hired during a strike in Cliftonville, they marched into West Virginia and joined the hostilities. There were eight or nine recorded deaths but many more (including those of replacement workers) probably took place.

This is likely just one of many forgotten stories out of the mining camps that employed thousands in the Avella area in early 1900s. Mr. Bogo lives in the Avella Highlands neighborhood of Independence Township.

If A Tree Falls In the Woods...

I have served as a McDonald Borough Councilman for four years (cummulative). In that time, I can think of only one or two instances when any of my constituents commented to me on the development of our annual borough budget. I'm not sure if its due to the lack of media exposure or the complexity of the budgets themselves, but in most municipalities and school districts there generally seems to be little public comment on the annual taxing and spending plans. In McDonald, we make more policy decisions at our October budget workshops than at any other time of the year -- and there usually is not a single resident in the audidence.

So, in the spirt of bringing more attention to the allotment of local tax dollars, please check out this article in today's Observer-Reporter on the consideration of next year's budget for the Canon-McMillan School District (which includes Cecil Township in the 46th). BTW, it's great to see they are planning to reinstitute international trips for their students. Cheers to the C-M school board for taking this step!

Celebrating Flag Day

Today is Flag Day. According to an entry at Wikipedia, one of the individuals who played a part in the establishment of the holiday was William T. Kerr of Collier Township, Allegheny County. Collier Township is next door to the 46th District, east of Oakdale Borough.

Play Ball! - Snatchko Night at the Wild Things

Everyone is invited this Friday, June 16, to Snatchko for State House Night at the Washington Wild Things. WashPA's Frontier League professional baseball team is now in its fifth year at Falconi Field. We'll be in the ballpark's air-conditioned upstairs party suite (which has its own section of outdoor seating.)

The suggested contribution to attend (which includes your game ticket, a buffet dinner and non-alcoholic beverages) is $50 per person or $85 for two people. (Young children are invited for free.) Paul will be throwing out the first pitch at approximately 6:45 p.m. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

To RSVP, please mail your contact information and contribution to: Paul Snatchko Campaign Committee, 302 West Lincoln Ave., #4, McDonald, PA 15057. (Please make checks payable to the Paul Snatchko Campaign Committee.) We will have your game ticket and party suite wrist band waiting for you at the ballpark gate. For more details or to RSVP by phone or e-mail, please contact Snatchko Campaign Manager Tom Baker at (412) 608-8842 or

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Steps on the Journey

Welcome to the blog for my 2006 campaign for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives! I'm excited that we will be using this new tool for the voters of the 46th and other friends beyond the district to learn more about me and developments on the campaign trail! The posters will include myself, my campaign manager - Tom Baker, and possibly other supporters. Please be sure to check out my campaign Website for lots of background on the campaign.

If you have any comments on anything regarding the blog, please don't hesitate to post them in the comments section or e-mail me at To reach the campaign by phone, please give us a call at (412) 608-8842 or (724) 492-0175.

Thanks & All the Best,